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... the thread
She stands by the hotel window - it faces an internal shaft that looks out onto other windows of other rooms and their net curtains, light streams from above. She cups her hands and pushes them out of the open window and catches the rain as it falls vertically down. Bringing her hands in, she drinks the cool water and smiles at me.
‘We need to get out of this place or have some fun’
The words fill me with dread. I am here, out of my world. Outside the door of this room is reality, work, people I know, people I don’t want to meet, hassle, anxiety, debt, people who want things from me, deadlines, and promises unkept. Here, sitting on this bed, in my underpants, smoking and drinking and watching, none of this is real. The light is unreal. The curtains are a vivid turquoise net, like veils blowing in the wind generated by a change in pressure down the shaft.
The room is sparse. A table against the wall is of a dark wood with a worn marble top, white, with black veins, on it a telephone directory in a foreign language and a telephone which looks like it won’t work, an ashtray and a small vase with dead flowers drooping their shriveled heads. Above this table is a mirror, an enormous, gilt-flourished frame made from plaster, chipped in places. The mirror doubles the size of the room and allows me to see her from the front and the back at the same time.
The rain makes its ubiquitous calming beat. I breathe deeply, a cool air that revivifies me, which I feel move from my nose through my throat and into my lungs. Is it the cigarettes that have done this - made me more sensitive, or is it something about this room?
Is the spell broken - you want to leave - you want to have fun - whatever that means. Perhaps it could be good - if we come back - but I fear, if I leave I will never return, and I will never see you again. You are beautiful. You are all the women I have ever desired but more than this, you want me, you adore me. The little smiles, the light in your eyes, the soft movement of those hands.
This isn’t real.
But I cannot break it - I cannot release you - I cannot release me - I need more time, I need to feel this calm and I need to realise that there is this hope, that this place can exist. How do I come back? Shall I take down the telephone number? I don’t know where I am. I don’t know what city, or country I am in. I only know that I am happy for once. Less than happy, content. Probably less than that - safe - numb. I am numb. Nothing is worrying me. Nothing is nagging, bothering, distracting, or filling me with dread or worry. I am just living. I am being. I am existing. And this is all I ask. What can I take back with me? What can I keep to remind me, to fix me, to join me to this place, what thread can I leave to enable me to find my way back through the maze of misery that my life has become? Do I care if this place is real or not now?
The only certainty is that I feel it ending. I will take your shoe. I will take your sock or your under things or a lock of your hair or the smell of you on my fingers. I will take a piece of the floral wallpaper, a chip of paint from the skirting boards, a wipe of dust on my fingertips - or will you let me drink from your hands, will you let me take you and become hydrated by you, with you, your skin and your fragrance and your oils and you … it is in this water, from this place. I will trace you. I will run every test that I can to allow me back to you. DNA, fingerprints, dental records.
Hotel Kupari, Croatia, September 2022. Nikon d750
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